Recent Columbia graduate who served as lone soldier in the IDF remembered as a “good and loyal friend.”
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
The victim of a terror shooting on Monday near the Dead Sea was identified as 26-year-old Elan Ganeles, a dual American-Israeli citizen who was visiting the country for a friend’s wedding.
Terrorists targeted Ganeles’ car as he drove near the Beit Ha’arava Junction on Route 90, near the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jericho.
Ganeles was struck by gunfire and hospitalized at Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. He was pronounced dead several hours later.
The terrorists who perpetrated the attack shot at least two other vehicles and are currently at large.
Born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, Ganeles had been an active member of Orthodox youth groups, eventually immigrating to Israel and serving as a lone soldier.
After serving in the military and working on a kibbutz dairy farm for several months, Ganeles returned to the U.S. in order to attend Columbia University, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported.
According to Ganeles’ LinkedIn account, he graduated from Columbia in 2022 with a degree in sustainable development and neuroscience.
Ganeles had also worked as a computer programmer for systems used by the Knesset’s finance committee and the national Ministry of Finance.
“He was the kind of guy you could call, and you’d be sure he’d pick up and have a few minutes to talk if you needed something,” Rabbi Yehuda Drizin of Chabad at Columbia University told JTA. “For everyone that knew him, this is a kick in the gut. This really hurts.”
Drizin added that Ganeles was a “nice person” and a “very good friend, and a loyal friend.”
“I remember him as a sweet boy with a great sense of humor. He played the saxophone and we would ‘jam’ together in the Shul’s Sukkah, during Hallel on Chanukah, and musical Havdalahs. Heartbreaking,” Shimshon Nadel, a rabbi from Har Nof, Jerusalem, who had been a part of the same Orthodox community as Ganele in Connecticut, wrote on Facebook.
Speaking to local outlet We-Ha, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford Present and Chief Executive Officer David Waren called Ganeles’ killing a “senseless and brutal murder at the hands of terrorists.”
“We extend our deepest condolences to the Ganeles family and affirm our solidarity with the people of Israel at this time of escalating violence,” Warren added. “May Elan’s memory be a blessing for his family and our entire community.”
Ganeles is survived by his parents, who are both physicians, and two younger brothers.
He will be buried in Israel. After the funeral, his family will observe the shiva mourning period in Connecticut.
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